Lately, I have become a bit obsessed with evaluating the linkage between good process design and good experience design. This obsession was initially sparked by primary research I led earlier this year around reinventing and redesigning business processes for mobile. The mobile imperative is driving a laser focus for companies to create exceptional user experiences for their customers, employees, and partners. But this laser focus on exceptional design is not only reshaping the application development world. This drive for exceptional user experience is also radically changing the way companies approach business process design.

Over the past six months, I have run across more and more BPM teams where user experience is playing a much larger role in driving business process change.   Some of these teams highlighted that they see experience design playing a greater role in driving process change than the actual process modeling and analysis aspects of process improvement.

Instead of putting the process model first and giving the process model highest importance (the traditional model for BPM), these teams put experience design first and then optimize and transform underlying business processes to fit the desired experience. Adopting this type of “experience first” approach is counter-cultural in the BPM world, since best practice dictates a “model first” approach when it comes to good process design.

I recently interviewed Phil Gilbert, from IBM, on the trend of using “design thinking” as a way to prioritize user experiences over process models.  Many of you know Phil from his role as lead strategist and visionary for IBM’s BPM group.  More recently, Phil was promoted to a new leadership role within IBM, launching a group that will focus on driving product design and user experience across IBM's portfolio of software products.

In the interview, Phil outlined key principles of "design thinking" he plans to embed into his new organization and offered up strategies for using good experience design to drive new and innovative approaches to optimizing and transforming business processes.

Podcast: "Interview With Phil Gilbert of IBM – Impact of Design Thinking On BPM"

After listening to the podcast, let me know what you think. Is BPM ready to embrace “design thinking” as a driver for process change?  Are BPM methods out there to support this type of approach?  What do you think BPM teams need to do to embrace an “experience first” approach, instead of only focusing on “model first” approaches.